Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Body Parts: Whole Body
Medical Subjects: Mental Health

What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) refers to the complex effects of psychological trauma on body, cognition, emotion and behavior. That is to say, an individual has experienced the threat of death, or suffered serious injuries, or witnessed the death and serious injuries of others, resulting in persistent mental disorders.

In short, PTSD is a state of psychological imbalance after trauma.

PTSD patients not only have more negative emotions, but also experience being misunderstood by others, such as "you think too much" and "you are too sentimental".

But in fact, PTSD may need professional psychological intervention or drug treatment to get better. If you are diagnosed with PTSD, please treat it actively. If your friends or family are diagnosed with PTSD, please give them encouragement and care, which will help them recover their physical and mental health.


What Is The Cause Of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

What events do post traumatic stress disorder occur after?

It is usually a life-threatening event, including war, earthquake, serious disaster, serious accident, rape, torture, robbery and so on.

Almost all people who go through such events will feel great pain, which often causes extreme fear, fear and helplessness. Such events are called traumatic events.

What are the risk factors of post-traumatic stress disorder?

  • Family history and past history of mental disorders.
  • Childhood psychological trauma (such as sexual abuse, parents divorced before the age of 10).
  • Introverted and neurotic.
  • Poor family and poor physical health.
  • Influenced by individual personality characteristics, education level, intelligence level, belief and life attitude.

How long does post traumatic stress disorder begin to occur after trauma?

Post-traumatic stress disorder usually occurs within several days to six months after the occurrence of traumatic events, and the course of disease lasts at least one month, which may last for several months or years, or even decades.

Among them, the disease period within 3 months is called acute post-traumatic stress disorder. The disease period is more than 3 months called chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. If the symptoms occur at least 6 months after the traumatic event, it is called delayed post-traumatic stress disorder.


What Are The Symptoms Of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?

The core symptoms of PTSD consist of three groups, namely, traumatic re-experience symptoms, avoidance and numbness symptoms, and increased alertness symptoms.

However, the clinical manifestations of children and adults are not exactly the same, and some symptoms are unique to children.

Traumatic re-experience symptoms

Mainly manifested in the patient's thinking, memory or dream, the situation or content related to trauma appears repeatedly and involuntarily, and there may also be a serious emotional response, even feeling that traumatic events seem to happen again.

Avoidance and numbness symptoms

The main manifestation is that patients try their best to avoid events or situations related to trauma experience for a long time or continuously, refuse to participate in related activities, and avoid the place of trauma or people or things related to trauma. Some patients even have selective amnesia and can't recall the details of trauma-related events.

Increased alertness symptoms

It is mainly manifested as excessive alertness and enhanced startle response, which may be accompanied by inattention, irritability increase and anxiety.

Other symptoms

Some patients may also show abuse of addictive drugs, aggressive behavior, self-injury or suicide behavior, etc. These behaviors are often manifestations of psychological and behavioral coping styles of patients. At the same time, depression is also a common accompanying symptom in many patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.

What are the characteristics of post-traumatic stress disorder in children?

  • Children’s traumatic re-experience symptoms can be manifested as nightmares, repeated replaying of traumatic events, playing trauma-related themed games, emotional agitation or sadness when faced with related prompts, etc.
  • Avoidance symptoms in children are often characterized by separation anxiety, clingy and unwillingness to leave their parents.
  • The symptoms of high vigilance are often manifested in children as excessive jumping reaction, high vigilance, irritability or rage, difficulty in falling asleep, etc.
  • Children of different ages may have different performance.

What Are The Diagnostic Criteria For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Different countries have different diagnostic criteria. Here are some criteria for reference. Perhaps the standards adopted in your country are different from those described here.

Symptom criteria:

Experienced traumatic events or situations that are unusual for everyone (such as natural and man-made disasters).

Repeat the traumatic experience (pathological recurrence), and at least one of the following:

  • Involuntarily recall the experience of being hurt.
  • Recurring nightmares with traumatic content.
  • Repeated delusions and hallucinations.
  • Repeated emotional mental pain, such as witnessing the relics of the deceased, revisiting the old place, or anniversaries, will cause abnormal pain and obvious physiological reactions, such as palpitations, sweating, pale face, etc.


Sustained increased alertness, with at least one of the following items:

  • Have difficulty falling asleep or not sleeping deeply.
  • Irritable.
  • Focus on the difficulties.
  • Be too scared.

The avoidance of situations similar to or related to the stimulus includes at least the following 2 items:

  • Forcing myself not to think about people and things related to traumatic experiences.
  • Avoid activities that can cause painful memories, or avoid places that can cause painful memories.
  • Unwilling to associate with others and becoming indifferent to relatives.
  • The range of hobbies is narrowed, but they are still interested in some activities unrelated to traumatic experiences.
  • Selective forgetting.
  • Lose hope and confidence in the future.

Course criteria

Delayed occurrence of mental disorders (that is, a few days to several months after the trauma, a delay of more than half a year is rare), meets the symptom criteria, and has lasted for at least 1 month.

Exclusion criteria

Eliminate emotional mental disorder, other stress disorder, neurosis, somatoform mental disorder, etc.

Most of the time, PTSD patients are unwilling to go to the hospital because they are ill and feel ashamed. In fact, it's not your fault to have insurmountable emotional problems. You have the right to ask for help from outside.


Can Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Be Prevented?

If some psychological assessment tools can be used to preliminarily assess the mental health of individuals after traumatic events, it will help to screen out the high-risk groups of post-traumatic stress disorder.

When encountering disasters, if we can get psychological intervention in time, we can greatly reduce the occurrence of post-traumatic stress disorder. Once post-traumatic stress disorder occurs, psychotherapy and medication can prevent the disease from worsening and promote rehabilitation.


How Should Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Be Treated?

Psychotherapy is the most effective one. The commonly used psychotherapy for PTSD include cognitive behavior therapy, hypnosis therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, and psychoanalytic therapy.

Drug therapy is one of the important treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, which can relieve the symptoms of patients and strengthen the effect of psychological treatment. The combined use of the two should be the first choice. There are mainly benzodiazepine anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants.

When diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder, it may be unacceptable, but in any case, please actively follow the doctor's advice and actively treat it, and the condition will improve.

Can post-traumatic stress disorder be cured?

Most patients can be cured, and about 30% of patients will retain severe symptoms.

At present, the treatment methods of post-traumatic stress disorder are as follows:

  • Medication.
  • Psychological treatment (such as cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy).
  • Systematic treatment (i.e. psychotherapy combined with medication).

The effective rate of the above treatment method can reach 70%.

After active systematic treatment, most patients can be relieved, leaving only mild symptoms such as emotional numbness and irritability.

What are the criteria for judging the cure of post-traumatic stress disorder?

Patients' symptoms were controlled or disappeared.

  • Repeated reappearance of traumatic experience, continuous heightened alertness and continuous avoidance disappeared.
  • Recovery of social functions and emotional activities.
  • After the symptoms disappeared completely, the patients were observed for 3 months, and there were no signs of recurrence and complications.

What Are The Precautions In Life With Traumatic Stress Disorder?

  • Actively seek help, including professionals such as doctors and counselors.
  • Maintain a normal and stable life schedule and rules.
  • Stay away from alcohol and tobacco.
  • Keep the relationship with family and friends, and actively seek support.
  • Learn about psychology and learn to relax, accept and care for yourself.

Related Articles